Chess continues to ride “The Queen’s Gambit” wave after an initial lockdown-fueled surge.
Within the first 28 days of the show’s release in October, more than 62 million households watched the limited series — the best such debut in Netflix history.
COVID-19 lockdown measures had already caused an uptick in chess interest, with Chess.com adding approximately 1 million new users a month. Since the Netflix series debuted, the game has seen another a big bump:
- Chess.com added 2.8 million users in November
- More than 78 million games were played on chess server Lichess in November, doubling from 2019
- On Dec. 11, more than 70,000 Twitch viewers watched grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave face off
It’s Not All Virtual: Toy retailer Goliath Games said chess set sales in November and December are up 1,100% year-over-year. Book sales about chess jumped 603% after the show’s release, according to The NPD Group.
The show, centered on fictional prodigy Beth Harmon, has also started to shift chess demographics. Prior to the series, 22% of members on Chess.com were women. New incoming members have bumped female membership up to 27%.